An American Family History

Martha Stroud Bryan

  also spelled Strode  

The Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia borders Maryland and Virginia. The first European settlers started arriving about 1730.


The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.

Martha Stroud was born about 1696/1697 in Europe

She married Morgan Bryan in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Morgan was born in 1671 in Denmark.

Joseph Bryan (1720, married Hester Simpson and Alice Linville),
Samuel Bryan (1721, married Masmilla Simpson),
James Bryan (1723, married Rebecca Enochs(on),
Mary Bryan (1725, married Thomas Curtis and George Forbes),
Morgan Bryan, Jr. (1729, married Cassandra Miller),
John Bryan (1730, married Elizabeth Frances Battle),
Eleanor Bryan (1729, married William Linville),
William Bryan (1734, married Mary Boone, daughter of Squire Boone),
Thomas Bryan (1735), and
Martha Bryan (1742, married Stephen Gano).

In 1719, Morgan was a member of the New Garden Monthly Meeting.

In 1724 they moved to the west into Pequea Creek district (present-day Lancaster, Pennsylvania).

In 1730 Morgan and Alexander Ross were granted hundred thousand acres on the waters of Opequon Creek and founded a Quaker colony.

In 1734, Morgan purchased land in present day Berkeley County, West Virginia and settled there.

In 1748, they moved to North Carolina where they made their home near the south bank of Deep Creek.

Morgan died in 1763 in Rowan County.


Opequon Creek is tributary of the Potomac River. It joins the Potomac northeast of Martinsburg and its source is at the foot of Great North Mountain. It is part of the boundary between Frederick and Clarke counties in Virginia and between Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia.



Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

Cattle were vital to a household and an important legacy.
Unweaned cattle are calves.
Female cattle are heifers and cows (had a calf).
Male cattle are steers (castrated) and bulls.
are trained draft animals and are often castrated adult male cattle.

from Rowan County, North Carolina Will Book A, page 13

I, Morgan Bryan of Rowan County, living in perfect mind and memory, blessed be God for his mercies, do dispose of my worldly estate as follows, viz,

First I give and bequeath unto my beloved son Thomas Bryan

  • my mansion house and plantation, also
  • my part of a Negro named Jack, also
  • my wagon and wagon horse named Black and the necessaries belonging to the wagon and my plow and the utensils thereunto.
  • Two brood mares, viz. a mare called Brown Dent and her yeard and young and her colt.
  • Two cows, viz. a cow called Josey and her calf the other called Brown and her calf also
  • my bed and furniture after my decease reserving a sufficient living for me of the land while I live.

Second, I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter Elinor Linville all my wife's wearing apparel,

I give and bequeath unto my grand daughter, Mary Forbes [daughter of Mary Bryan] my great pot and five shillings Sterl.

Eight pounds proclamation to my beloved son James Bryan.

I reserve for my funeral charges and sickness.

I give and bequeath Joseph, Samuel, Morgan, John, William and Thomas and my daughter Elinor Linville all the rest of my real and personal estate to be equally divided amongst them together with that part of my estate which they have already received.

I do nominate my beloved sons John Bryan and William Bryan to be Ext. Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament whereof

I have hereunto set my hand and seal
this March twenty 28, 1763.
Morgan Bryan (Seal)
Signed, sealed, published and pronounced in the presents of Morgan Bryan Jr., Anthony Heaverloe, Mary (X) Forbes.
Proved July Court 1763


It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

from The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 3

Morgan Bryan continued to live in Chester county until four or five of his oldest children were born. About 1728 or 1730, Morgan Bryan, Alexander Ross and other friends (Quakers) obtained a grant for 100,000 acres of land on the Potomac and Opequan rivers in the Colony of Virginia. He moved to this land and settled near the present site of Winchester about 1730. Here the rest of his children were born.

The children of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode Bryan were: Joseph, Samuel, James, Morgan, John, Elinor, Mary, William, Thomas, Sarah and Rebecca.

Martha Strode Bryan died about 1717 (sic) and was buried at the home near the present site of Winchester, Va.

After her death Morgan Bryan sold his interests in Virginia, and in the fall of 1748 moved his family to North Carolina and settled in the forks of the Yadkin river, which was then Anson county, but in 1753 Rowan county was set off from Anson; thus they were in Rowan county. Thus we see Morgan Bryan had been living on the Yadkin river about two years when Squire Boone came from Pennsylvania and settled on the river and became a near neighbor to him. Here Daniel Boone and Rebecca Bryan [daughter of Joseph and Hester] became acquainted, and in 1755 were married. William Bryan (son of Morgan and brother to Rebecca) also married Mary Boone (sister of Daniel) the same year.

These marriages of the young people produced a bond of friendship between the two families that led that and the next generation to share each other’s hardships as well as pleasures, and that has not been broken to this day.

Morgan Bryan, Sr., died in 1763, aged ninety-two, and was buried in what was then Rowan county, N. C.

September 25, 1773, Daniel Boone, Squire Boone (brothers), James, Morgan, Jr., and William Bryan (brothers), and Jonas Sparks, all with large families of children, many of said children approaching maturity, started from North Carolina to settle on the Kentucky river.

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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